# 150. Awaiting Results
*Cause of death: sharp object piercing the heart (old wound)*
*Autopsy report: Body and internal organs are dark purple in colour. There is a corpse Gu in his body, preventing his flesh from rotting, he is an undead corpse. Time of death is over a year ago.*
*Height of five-foot-four, female, well-proportioned. No bones broken, no sign of poison. Fingers well-shaped, no evidence of having done hard labour…*
In the constabulary, Xu Qi’an read through the autopsy report, and gave them to the coroner. He turned, and entered the room next to the morgue.
Ten Gold Gongs were gathered there, Wei Yuan sat at their head, drinking tea with a serious expression.
Xu Qi’an silently walked to Wei Yuan’s back, listening to the Gold Gongs talk about the woman’s identity, as well as the links between Princess Pingyang and the Sangpo case.
*The case of Princess Pingyang, currently could be called tentatively complete. Anything afterwards I probably won’t be able to get involved in… this involves a princess’s homicide case, it’s not something a Bronze Gong could do.*
*But the Sangpo case still hasn’t been solved… I don’t know if the merit I’ve gained in the Princess Pingyang case, is enough to atone for my death penalty… if not, I’ll fuck your grandpa Emperor Yuanjing.*
As he lampooned, a clerk appeared at the door, saying “Duke Wei, Sirs, King Yu has arrived.”
*King Yu has arrived…* The Gold Gongs exchanged looks, before all turning to look at Wei Yuan.
The azure-cloaked eunuch with whitening temples, drank the last mouthful of tea in his cup. Looking at the clerk, he said in a kindly tone, “Invite King Yu to come to the mortuary.”
He placed down his cup, sighing, and started walking towards the morgue. Everyone else in the hall followed him.
When they came to the door, the Gold Gongs did not go in, rather splitting into two groups at the door. Only Wei Yuan entered.
King Yu came, this sickly looking man walked over expressionless. There was clearly no expression on his face, yet it seemed to express all expressions.
His steps were not quick nor slow, yet it seemed like a demon was chasing him…
As he came to the morgue door, he stopped for a few seconds, before stepping over the high threshold.
The morgue was extremely well lit, as the bright sun shone through the slatted windows, leaving even spots of light on the floor.
King Yu’s eyes were drawn to the corpse that was lying on the wooden table in front of him. At this moment, he felt an overwhelming urge to flee.
But his will as a father made him approach.
Only Wei Yuan was in the morgue. He took out the golden hairpin from his sleeve, and said gently, “We found this on her body, she used it to end her own life. Do you recognise it?”
King Yu’s gaze froze, his expression froze, like a statue slowly being eroded in the wind.
“It’s hers.” King Yu said with difficulty.
The spacious room fell into a deathly silence, as neither of the two men continued to speak.
After a long long time, King Yu, head still lowered towards the golden hairpin, asked with hoarse voice, “Who did it.”
“We only found three people. The Earl Pingyuan, the Minister of War Zhang Feng, and the Ministry of Revenue’s Chief supervising secretary.” Wei Yuan looked at him closely, his deep eyes containing the vast experiences of countless ages:
“Their original intention was probably to deceive her to leave the capital, however their sons saw her beauty and had treacherous intent; they were never going to let Princess Pingyang, who had escaped from King Yu’s Manor, return back alive.”
“She was assaulted?” King Yu’s voice was calm to the point of being frightening.
“She swallowed her hairpin, and took her own life,” Wei Yuan shook his head. He finished his story, and then looked deeply at King Yu, “But still I cannot confirm that this body is the Princess. A golden hairpin doesn’t represent much.
“I think, you know what to do.”
King Yu left. Apart from that first glance as he entered the morgue, he never again looked at those remains, not even once, as if they were something incredibly frightening.
He wasn’t sure if it was an illusion, but as Xu Qi’an looked at King Yu’s back, he felt that this King had aged in an instant, his figure having the desolation of someone nearing their grave.
That day, King Yu entered the palace, a blood letter in his hand.[^1]
After King Yu left, Xu Qi’an, who originally was planning to quietly wait for the case of Princes Pingyang to end, and to gain important leads for the Sangpo case, suddenly got an invitation from Princess Huaiqing.
The one who passed on the invite was a delicate-featured young errand runner, a young eunuch.
“What does the Eldest Princess want me for?” Xu Qi’an asked.
“I don’t know.” The young eunuch was not one for words. He was experienced in the art of keeping his life in the palace; his mouth was shut more tightly than a chrysanthemum.[^2]
*… eighty percent chance, it’s about Princesses Pingyang.* Xu Qi’an guessed.
He urged his horse on, cantering towards the imperial city. Entering the palace, he was lead by a small eunuch straight to Princess Huaiqing’s gardens.
In the pavilion in the garden, Xu Qi’an saw Princess Huaiqing, as well as second princess Biaobiao, His Highness the Crown Prince, and Huaiqing’s brother the fourth prince.
“Your servant greets your Highnesses.”
Princess Lin’an waved her hand, calling to him playfully, “Running dog, come and sit.”
*Since when did running dog become my pet name?* Xu Qi’an felt a bit blank, glancing at the crown prince and Princess Huaiqing. The latter’s voice was clear and cold: “No need for formalities, get Sir Xu a seat.”
The palace maids brought over a chair, and placed it facing the princes and princesses.
The eldest princess Huaiqing looked at him, saying “Today, King Yu brought a blood-letter to the palace. After Father saw him, he has not yet come out. This princess remembers that you are investigating Princess Pingyang’s case, has there been any developments.”
His Highness the Crown Prince, the fourth prince, and Princess Lin’an were all staring at him, waiting for his response.
Princess Pingyang was their cousin. They had grown up together, and their relationship was deep.
“Princess Pingyang…” Xu Qi’an took a deep breath, and started slowly narrating.
This was a simple, ordinary tale of love, but it was bound to not be so, because the female protagonist was a noble Princess, she couldn’t do this, couldn’t do that, and absolutely couldn’t fall in love with a monk!
But the taste of love was that enchanting, that she was willing to throw away everything, throw away her riches and nobility, her family and identity, to leave the capital with him, and make a new life for themselves.
However, not every tale of love has a happy ending. The talented scholars and beautiful women in the story books could always have a happy ending together, because they were in a story book. There were too many variables in the real world for that to happen.
In the end they became sacrifices on the alter of political conflict. Perhaps before calamity fell, these two lovebirds were still happily imaging their future together.
Xu Qi’an calmly finished his story, and suddenly thought of a song he heard many years ago:
*“Two butterflies flying, two mandarin ducks playing in the water,*
*“A garden full of spring’s beauty, charming one’s heart,*
*“Whisper to the holy monk, the girl is beautiful, isn’t she? The girl is beautiful, isn’t she?*
*“Stop talking about royalty and countless riches,*
*“Stop fearing the disciple and monastic rules,*
*“I only hope this will be everlasting, that I can live forever with my love…”*[^3]
He’d never met Princess Pingyang, but in front of his eyes he felt as if he could see a bright and beautiful girl, with a pair of eyes full of laughter, standing gracefully beside a handsome monk’s side.
Placing a flower into her hair, asking: is the flower pretty, or am I pretty?
“What- what did you just sing?” Princess Lin’an’s eyes were red, as she bit her lip, a sob choked in her words.
Xu Qi’an came back to his senses, discovering that unknowingly he had begun to sing.
He quickly rose, clasping his fists together, “Your Highness, forgive me, your servant for a moment couldn’t control his emotions, and offended Princess Pingyang.”
Princess Huaiqing stared at him deeply, and sat for a few seconds, before she could keep her tone calm, “This princess knows now. You are dismissed.”
Xu Qi’an quickly left, faintly hearing Lin’an’s sobs behind him.
A carriage sped to the Stargazing Tower, stopping outside it. Eunuch Liu, beardless yet with creases appearing at the corners of his eyes, jumped down hurriedly from the carriage, not even waiting for his servant to bring the stepladder.
Eunuch Liu rushed into the Stargazing tower, and raised the imperial order in his hand high in the air, “His Majesty has commanded, the Jianzheng is summoned immediately to the palace!”
He shouted three times.
To prevent the Sitianjian from conspiring with officials, the court had decreed that qi-watching shall not be taken to have effect on officials of fourth rank or higher.
But there was one exception: the Jianzheng!
“Don’t ribble rabble, the teacher has already gone to the palace.”
Suddenly a voice came from behind him. Eunuch Liu suddenly turned his head, seeing the white-cloaked Yang Qianhuan standing with his hands behind his back, facing away from him.
“Yang Qianhuan, when did you return to the capital?” Eunuch Liu jumped in fright.
“When the capital needs me, I shall come.” came Yang Qianhuan’s deep, steady voice.
“All day and night your bizzare mutterings, could you not talk normally?” Eunuch Liu retorted unhappily, before turning to leave.
“…” said Yang Qianhuan.
In the quiet room, the cross-legged Xu Qi’an suddenly felt a palpitation, a palpitation like a QQ notification sounding after a long all-nighter.
This was the Earth Book’s special “message notification”. He immediately stopped his visualisation meditation, and took out his small jade mirror.
【NINE: SIX has been found. Currently he is in the Nightwatchers Constabulary, you can all relax.】
Seeing this, Xu Qi’an frowned, thinking *Daozhang, are you not blatantly saying: there’s a Heaven and Earth Society mole inside the Nightwatchers Constabulary?*
【FIVE: You’ve found SIX? But, isn’t SIX in danger at the Nightwatchers Constabulary. I heard that the Great Feng’s Nightwatchers are all evil men with no emotion.】
【ONE: Rumours cannot all be believed. Daozhang, did you find SIX?】]
【NINE: As expected, SIX was sealed up, the one who sealed him was a black cloaked expert. His entire body exuded danger, such that this poor Daoist did not dare to rashly act, thus I revealed this to the Nightwatchers Constabulary.】
*Daozhang, not bad eh, this way my information source could be explained. If One is high up in court, he definitely would know about Princess Pingyang’s case.*
*Thinking backwards, I as the bronze gong who discovered traces of Henghui would become suspicious… and Daozhang’s words are giving my story a reinforcing patch.*
*If someone asks, I can say it was reported by a dedicated supporter.*
*And thus clear my name with any connection to THREE.*
【ONE: I’ve got a piece of information. The Sangpo case involves the the case of the disappearance of Princess Pingyang. Very soon, a great storm will start in the capital.】
【FOUR: What’s the situation?】
Four jumped out to eat popcorn.
One briefly recounted the Case of Princess Pingyang to the Heaven and Earth Society. In only a few sentences, they conjured up a vision of backstabbing and treachery under the dark clouds of officialdom.
And gave them full room to fill in the blanks.
【FIVE: This- this… are your Great Feng’s people’s hearts that black? How could you be so despicable and treacherous.】
【FOUR: Who investigated this case?】
Seeing this, Xu Qi’an’s eyebrow twitched, as he wrote: 【THREE: I heard it was a Bronze Gong in the Nightwatchers Constabulary, called Xu Qi’an.】
【FOUR: Xu Qi’an? Why is that name familiar?】
【THREE: When ONE was investigating the azure qi in the Cloud Deer Academy, they mentioned this person. I’ve also noticed him, and have been watching him, and have come to a frightening conclusion.】
【A frightening conclusion?】 The Heaven and Earth Society members asked in unison.
【THREE: This person is highly intelligent, with extraordinary talent, and is in no terms comparable to common people.】
*To get such praise from THREE, this Bronze Gong Xu Qi’an, must be an incredibly strong character…* Everyone quietly remembered the name.
Jinlian Daozhang felt somewhat embarrassed, and did not speak.
Just then, Two surfaced: 【TWO: THREE, I’ve found traces of Zhou Chixiong.】
One, who had not replied when Xu Qi’an was bragging, immediately jumped out: 【ONE: Where is he?】
【TWO: One of the brothers under my command saw him in a mountain fort. That fort happens to be one that we plan to root out in the near future. You just wait, once we root it out, I’ll send someone to deliver him to you.】
*Two really has found Zhou Chixiong? With how big Yunzhou is, and how many bandits there are, even though she seems to have some power in Yunzhou, she couldn’t have found Zhou Chixiong so quickly right… It has to be coincidence, or I’ve underestimated Two’s abilities…* Xu Qi’an punched the air in elation.
After catching Zhou Chixiong, they would know who the real perpetrator behind the curtain is.
【THREE: Many thanks.】
【TWO: A small matter. Friends from all rivers and seas are willing to give me some face, finding a person isn’t hard.】
*Your reputation isn’t anything usual huh…* everyone thought…
After conversing with the Heaven and Earth Society, Xu Qi’an felt a lot more steady. Zhou Chixiong was his other insurance policy. If they could catch him, then even if the case of Princess Pingyang could not atone his crime, then he still would not need to panic.
Now, he only has to await the results.
[^1]: A blood letter, traditionally written in one’s own blood, is a letter that expresses one’s last wishes, or some ultimate determination or hatred.
[^2]: Slang for anus.
[^3]: 《女儿情》 *A Girl’s Love*